New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: Revolution at D.C. United

Ryan Guy will be counted upon to keep Dwayne DeRosario off the scoresheet during Saturday's Revolution-United conference clash. (Photo: Kari Heistad)

Six weeks after D.C. handed them their only home loss of the season, the Revolution get the chance to avenge the 2-1 defeat Saturday at RFK Stadium.

Although the United are undefeated at home in 2012 (5-0-2), the Revolution haven’t lost at RFK since 2008. Clearly, something has to give.

What other story lines will follow the Revolution into the Nation’s Capital? Well, here are five we’ll be keeping an eye on.

1. Can a midfield without Clyde Simms keep Dwayne DeRosario quiet? That’s the question du jour for Saturday. It’s one thing to plug in Ryan Guy in the defensive midfielder role against the slow-burn style of attack the Dynamo featured last week. It’s another thing entirely when DeRosario has his gaze fixed on the Revolution net. To disrupt the reigning MVP, Shalrie Joseph and A.J. Soares are going to have to help out Guy, who’s projected to assume Simms’ role for the second straight week. Granted, they probably won’t be able to silence him completely. But, if they can choose their battles wisely, and limit his effectiveness, they might be fortunate enough to avoid the sight of De-Ro’s Goal Dance.

2. Which Revolution player will need to rise to the occasion? An argument could be made for Guy, who may find DeRosario in his area code early and often. But to get three points in D.C., the Revolution will absolutely need Saer Sene to unleash his goalscoring prowess. In recent weeks, Sene has shown that he can score in a variety of way, whether it be from the header, with the ball at his feed, or on the volley. The last Revolution striker who proved he can score with the net in his sights? Taylor Twellman, who also happened to give D.C. fits over the course of his career.

3. Can the Revolution burst D.C.’s bubble? There’s a sense in D.C. that with all the names on the United injury list, they may be on borrowed time. Yes, Ben Olson has done a tremendous job managing his field personnel. And yes, key players like DeRosario and Hamdi Salihi have stayed healthy. But with Chris Pontius (doubtful), Robbie Russell (out) and Danny Cruz (out) all on the bench, D.C. may be more vulnerable than they look. And the Revolution have to take advantage. They have to test the United back line. They have to be physical with a nicked up Maicon Santos. But most of all, they have to stick to their gameplan – which is something they weren’t able to do six weeks ago.

4. How will the Revolution approach their first rematch of the season? Make no mistake, this is a classic “revenge” game for the Revolution. Six weeks ago, the D.C. went into Gillette Stadium and stole three points from the hosts. Yes, stole. And that’s the mindset Jay Heaps is going to instill this week. Now, it’s time to reclaim what was theirs. That being said, expect a relentless attack that is going to be sniffing for weaknesses from start to finish. Expect Sene, Lee Nguyen and Shalrie Joseph to put D.C. on its heels. But above all else, expect a side that who’s form will be much sharper than the one that allowed United to score two unanswered goals six weeks ago.

5. Can Matt Reis rebound from last week’s un-Reis-like performance? If there’s been one constant in the Revolution rear, it’s Matt Reis. The 15-year-veteran has shown, time after time, his value to the squad by making acrobatic saves and skillfully organizing his defenders. But last week, Reis wasn’t at his best. Although it was clear that the Revolution weren’t in terribly good positions on both of Houston’s goals last week, the starting keeper has to share in some of the blame. This week, he’ll have to resume his regular, top-5 form against a potent D.C. attack to give his teammates a chance.

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